How To Become an Actor In Australia: A Complete Guide

Students want to know how to become actors or actresses in Australia and get into acting.


A successful career in acting requires you to have talent and experience with a little bit of luck. You can see and hear an actor or actress everywhere on a big screen, on television, in theatre, in videos, on the internet, and even on podcasts.


They portray different characters and emotions to bind the audience. Some actors work towards being a part of varying entertainment channels. In contrast, others stick to performing on stage, using their voice and acting skills to create a new world.


Becoming an actor or actress in Australia can be highly challenging. However, with professional training, relentless determination, and strong endurance to face constant rejections and unavoidable situations, nothing can stop you from reaching your dreams.


If you aspire to a career in acting, read this post and learn how to become a famous actor or actress in Australia, including how to get into acting, what it takes, how much they earn, the entry requirements and more.



1. What Does an Actor Do?


An actor or actress portrays a role or a character, and they perform in television, theatre, film, podcasts, and radio productions. An actor goes through the audition process to win an acting role. If selected, he rehearses the role and brings the character to life in front of an audience. 


They might work on different levels of the profession, such as acting in leading roles or being extra in a more extensive cast.


As actors take up several roles, they must possess talent, self-motivation, creativity, confidence, and commitment.



2. Major Duties and Tasks of an Actor


  • Auditioning: The life of an actor revolves around auditions, which are a sample performance or an interview to show your suitability and skills for a particular role.


  • Meeting with Agent: As an actor, before you accept a particular part, you first need to meet with the agent and discuss what your performance would entail. The actor also meets up with other professionals before starting the work.


  • Researching: Actors must conduct thorough research on the lifestyle, traits, and situations surrounding their character to present themselves authentically to the audience.


  • Reading Scripts: To understand their role better and deliver lines, actors need to read the script. Only with the help of a script an actor interprets their role.


  • Memorizing: Actors cannot hold their script while performing, so they must remember their lines to show their characters effectively. Sometimes when performing on set, the director might change the lines in the script, so the actor needs to learn those on the spot.


  • Discussing the Role: An actor talks about his role with other actors and the director so that they can exchange viewpoints and the actor can improve his overall performance.


  • Rehearsing: The actor has to rehearse his part several times individually and with the other actors in front of the production team. This helps to check their gestures on stage or on camera to deliver the best performance.


  • Performing: The performance of an actor holds a critical role in acting. An actor must follow the directions the director gives and then perform accordingly.


  • Learning New Skills: As per the actor’s character, they might have to learn skills such as singing, dancing, horseback riding, and karate.


Note: Film producers, television companies, broadcasting corporations, theatre companies, and advertising agencies hire actors in Australia. Actors must commit, be patient, and be determined. Work can be unpredictable, and production and rehearsal schedules can be too demanding.



3. What Are The Educational and Training Requirements For an Actor In Australia?


You do not require a qualification to work as an actor. However, you should get formal training to increase your chances of getting work. Your interest and acting skills, along with your previous experience in acting, will determine your acceptance into traditional courses.


You can take up a VET qualification in acting, screen performance, performing arts, and theatre or music theatre. Additionally, you can become an actor by pursuing a degree in drama, music theatre, performing arts, or just theatre. To enter such courses, you must receive the Senior Secondary Certificate of Education in English.


Remember, there is high competition in these places, so you might have to give a practical test, an audition, or an interview. However, some even have flexible entry requirements, depending on which institution you attend.



4. Where Should You Consider Acting Training and Why?


Even though you are not required to have professional acting experience to become an actor, formal and advanced training can help you to land a role.


You surely must have heard of “The Big Three” - the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA), the National Institute of Dramatic Art (NIDA), and the Victorian College of the Arts (VCA). 


These are prestigious and well-known institutions in Australia that offer both vocational education and training and full-time bachelor-level courses in acting. Let us learn more about them:


  • Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts: It is situated in Perth’s suburbs and is considered one of the most reputed drama schools by several industry professionals. WAAPA offers an isolated and independent training setting, which helps to produce remarkable actors. Some of the most famous alums of WAAPA include Jai Courtney, Hugh Jackman, and Frances O’Connor.


  • National Institute of Dramatic Art: It is one of the leading institutes for education and training in performing arts. NIDA offers accredited courses across disciplines, including undergraduate degrees, graduate degrees, and diplomas. Over the years, NIDA has produced notable alumni, such as Cate Blanchett, Mel Gibson, and Toni Collette. 


  • Victorian College of the Arts: VCA is part of the University of Melbourne’s Faculty of Fine Arts and Music. The courses offered by VCA help strengthen your devising skills and performance. They have trained actors from across the nation, including famous alumni like Vince Colosimo and Alison Bell. 


Besides the above three, you can also join Actors Centre Australia (ACA), renowned in the industry. It follows an industry-focused and practical approach that has helped to produce exceptional talent like Jonathan LaPaglia and Rose Byrne.


Furthermore, you can explore the best opportunities in your region and look for drop-in or short-term classes. This is a more casual path towards your training as an actor. However, it can still help you educate yourself more about acting and develop you as an actor. Perform Australia is a great place to start if you are interested in taking this path.


Additional Information:


The Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA) and the National Institute of Dramatic Art (NIDA) usually hold acting auditions in November every year in most territories and states of Australia.


Perform Australia has admissions in February and July, with auditions conducted in the months before the start of the programme. The Victorian College of the Arts (VCA) auditions take place in November and early December. 


To get detailed information, you must visit the respective websites of these institutions.



5. How Do You Find Acting Roles In Australia To Audition For?


It is best to look for acting auditions that are right for you. One of the best ways to find acting work is through an agent who has links with other associates and casting directors and has television and studio contacts. 


Overall, having an agent serves as a trigger to get auditions. Suppose you have decided to proceed further without an agent or have yet to find an agent. In that case, you should check out the Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance website.



6. Do You Need an Agent to Become an Actor in Australia?


Yes, you do need an agent in Australia. Having an agent comes with benefits, putting you in a better place to find work. They not only have connections with casting directors but also negotiate and discuss terms of contracts with the director so that you receive what you deserve the most.


The number of auditions and jobs you get reflects your relationship with your agent. You also need to put in the equal amount of effort you expect from your agent. They may help you land the audition, but ultimately you are the one who needs to get the job done. 


Hence, to get the full benefit from your agent, you must ensure you can instantly respond to questions and use every opportunity they offer you.


Even though there are several examples of agents discovering talented individuals who achieve great success, there are other ways to get an agent. You must remember that agents have valuable ties with various filmmakers and casting directors, so you must focus on getting an agent and taking charge of the situation.


For instance, you can email them to watch the episode, invite them to a show you are performing in or ask for their assistance to arrange a meeting of interest to you. The only thing you need to be careful about is that you are not turning your proactive nature into bothering the agent time and again.



7. How Much Do Actors or Actresses Get Paid in Australia?


The question of how much actors get paid entirely depends upon the type of role they perform, their expertise, and even their geographical location.


Usually, metropolitan areas or cities where performing arts are more popular offer higher wages than rural areas or places miles away from production facilities. 


All in all, the location can help determine an actor’s average earnings. According to PayScale, the average salary of an actor or actress in Australia is between AU$36,495 - AU$193,916 per year.



8. Tips Required to Become a Successful Actor in Australia


If you are wondering how to become an actor without experience, follow the tips and advice mentioned below and get your acting career off to a great start!





When it comes to building an acting career, it is crucial to create a great network. Remember, most actors get new work based on whom they know in the industry.


This is why even famous actors attend every event, such as award shows, fashion shows, fundraising events, and movie launches. It allows them to meet their potential employers.



Understand That You Can Not Accept Every Role


Actors can become so focused on their job and passion for acting that they completely neglect the commercial aspect of their profession. You should carefully select which role you accept and only go for some of them.


Your agent or manager may try to guide you on which role to perform, but eventually, only you know which part will stand out the most.



Get an Agent


They are the ones who can either make or break your acting career. Hiring the right agent means that he considers your choices, is willing, to be honest with you on all fronts and helps you look for appropriate jobs. 


Overall, the agent should not hesitate to go out of the way for his client.



Find Your Niche


Every actor needs to find their niche. They can do that by knowing their unique qualities and how to put them to use. You can know your qualities by watching yourself on television, asking others about your attributes, and noting down your amusing behaviours and characteristics.


Once you know your niche, you can polish specific attributes and ace your acting auditions!


This is all you need to know about becoming an actor in Australia. 


Remember, you will have a challenging career path, so you must prepare for all obstacles you may encounter in your journey as an actor.


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